Since Passover is coming up, I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite treats - Almond Macaroons. They are less traditional than coconut macaroons, but healthier for you since the main ingredient is almonds.
The reason Almond Macaroons are good for Passover is because during this holiday, Jewish people don't eat grains like wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt that take more than 18 minutes to cook completely (after coming in contact with water). It's okay to eat those grains if they cook faster than that though (that's why Jews can eat Matzo during Passover). Also no leavening such as baking powder is allowed to signify the Jews quick escape from Egypt (they didn't have time to let their bread rise).
That's why Jewish people don't eat bread, cakes, oatmeal, cookies, or pasta. Matzoh is okay to eat because although it's made with flour, it is cooked in less than 18 minutes. Strict Jews won't eat rice, corn, peanuts and other legumes either because these could have come in contact with the 5 grains I mentioned above, or with yeast (a kind of leavening). These macaroons are made with only almonds, Sucanat, lemon zest, and egg whites. As far as sweets go, these are downright healthy since they contain no butter or egg yolks and all those beneficial almonds.
Want to know how to make them? Then
2 cups almonds (1 1/2 cups ground)
1 cup Sucanat (or white sugar)
Zest of 1 large lemon
3 egg whites
Canola oil cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 275.
- Line a cookie sheet with heavy duty foil and spray with canola oil.
- In a covered blender, chop up the almonds half at a time until finely ground.
- In a bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until they form soft peaks.
- Add the lemon zest.
- Gradually add the Sucanat and beat until the whites are very stiff and shiny but not dry.
- Fold in the ground almonds.
- Take spoonfuls and drop onto the cookie sheet about 1 - 1 1/2 inches apart.
- Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until edges are hard, but the middle is still soft and golden.
- After 5 minutes, carefully place the foil with the baked macaroons on a cookie sheet to cool.
Fit's Tips: This recipe makes about 3 dozen macaroons, so you can store the cooled macaroons in a covered container.